STEP BACK IN TIME WITH OUR
History Walks Of Bonita Springs
The BSHS has pleased to provide a series of educational and entertaining history walks in our downtown. There are several different walk itineraries, each focusing on a particular area and with different stories. See below to reserve and prepay for a $10 discount.

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We greatly thank the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau for grant funds to help promote this downtown cultural activity!

See below for dates & details of upcoming Walks. Private history Walks may be arranged for your group with a minimum of 10 participants, or $200 for Walks ($300 for the Wonderment Walk).

Note that the cost per person is $10 less if reserved and prepaid with credit card via Paypal (within 24 hours advance of Walk date), as opposed to paying the day of Walk. The Paypal pricing reflects this discount.

First needed is to select desired Walk and date from drop down menu below, (by clicking on the first date and menu will appear).

Once correct date is selected, click the "Add to Cart" button which will take you to secure Paypal webpage.
Then verify walk date and select the number of participants (Quantity) on Paypal link page. You may select to pay with a credit card and do not need a Paypal account.

Select History Walk Dates


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NOTES:
* The online prepay price is $20 per person, except for the Places of Wonderment walk which $30/pp as it includes entrance free to the Everglades Wonder Gardens.
* Please arrive a few minutes (10 minutes or so) early to register (we have a sign-in questionnaire form) so we can start on time. Tours normally last 1.5 to 2 hours. All tours are on Saturdays, except the Feb 13th Bonita Lovers Walk.
* Funding to support these walks is provided by Lee County Visitors Bureau. As part of the grant requirement, we will need to collect demographic data, such as they want to know if you are a local resident, seasonal or visitor. Please bring a pen to fill out the form, or you may download the form to be emailed with your pre-tour participation notes (including parking map), to complete and bring to the walk, saving us time.
* There are no refunds for "no shows" if you do not attend, however a credit can be given for a future Walk with advance notice. For payments the morning of Walk, it is additional $10 per person from the online prepay price and to be paid in Cash or Check only. Refunds will be provided if the Walk is cancelled by the BSHS.
* Lunch is NOT included on any of the Walks, however there are good downtown restaurants.
* For the safety of all during this time of Covid, the wearing of masks is suggested. Most of the touring is conducted outside. Group size is limited to 50 participants.
* Since we will be outdoors and walking, we suggest comfortable shoes, drinking water, a hat and sunscreen, and umbrella if chance of rain.
* An email with notes (including parking maps) and registration form will be sent upon booking from the BSHS in addition to the automated Paypal payment confirmation.
* For questions in advance, you may email info@bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org, or call the BSHS at 239-992-6997. For day of Walk contacts for cancelations or directions, call Charlie at 239-992-6133.


DATES:
- Saturday, Dec 18th, 2021 at 6:30pm,  Bonita Holiday Lights 
- Saturday, Jan 8, 2022, at 10am,  Land of the Calusa
- Saturday, Jan 29, at 10am,  How Bonita Got Its Name
- Saturday, Feb 5, at 10am,  Places of Wonderment
- Sunday, Feb 13, at 11am,  Bonita Lover’s Walk 
- Saturday, Feb 19, at 10am,  Downtown Landmarks
- Saturday, March 12, at 10am, How Bonita Got Its Name
- Saturday, March 26, at 10am, Cruising Down The River
- Saturday, April 9 at 10am,  Land of the Calusa
- Saturday, April 23 at 10am,  Places of Wonderment
- Saturday, May 14 at 10am,  Downtown Landmarks
- Saturday, May 28 at 10am,  Cruising Down The River


GUIDES:
Your primary guide will be Charlie Strader, who has lived in Bonita Springs for over 44 years. He is past president of the Bonita Springs Historical Society, the City of Bonita Springs' Historic Preservation Board, and the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society. Guest guides may also accompany on the tours.

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2021-2022 HISTORY WALKS

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BONITA HOLIDAY LIGHTS: December 18, 2021
Saturday, 6:30 - 8:30pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

An evening walk through our beautiful lighted Downtown parks to see the City's decorations and see why people come from miles around to enjoy. Visit the historic 1915 McSwain House, learn about our town’s history, and hear stories along the way.
Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 1.5 to 2 hours. Meet at 6:30 PM at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.
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LAND OF THE CALUSA:
January 8 & April 9, 2022
Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

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Learn about the archaeology of the first peoples to live in Bonita Springs beginning over 8,0000 years ago. Hear the stories of the mighty Calusa Chiefdom, which controlled all of Southwest Florida and whose capital was Mound Key in Estero Bay, including their contact with the Spanish starting in 1513. See demonstrations of the tools the Calusa used to prosper: the atlatl (an ancient device to throw a spear for fishing) shell tool making, weaving, and more. Walk to Depot and Island Parks and learn about our native plants used by Native Americans.
Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 1.5 to 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel in Riverside Park, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.
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HOW BONITA GOT ITS NAME: January 29 & March 12, 2022
Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

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Tour the verdant Shangri-La Springs Resort (including its organic garden area), one of our first developments (1920's) and site of the springs that gave Bonita Springs its name. Learn about the owners and intriguing uses of this resort over time. We’ll also make stops at the Goodbread Grocery, our 1921 Elementary School listen on the National Registry of History Places, our oldest church, the Fleming House, neighborhood with historic houses, and a storytelling mural. Stay afterward for an optional garden-to-table lunch at the Shangri-La (reserve in advance with Shangri-La Springs Resort), or to relax and enjoy the beauty of this historic oasis.
Start/End at the Shangri La Resort. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 1.5 to 2 hours. 
Meet at 10am at the Shangri-La, 27580 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.
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PLACES OF WONDERMENT: February 5 & April 23, 2022
Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $30 in advance, $40 the day of.

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Hear about lost historic tourist attractions of wonderment like the original Shell Factory (now in North Fort Myers), Seminole Indian Village, the Dome, Bairds Camp, and the Mystery House. Then included is a VIP tour of the 80-year-old Everglades Wonder Gardens, which is still going strong, to experience the history and beauty of this tropical oasis and learn about the colorful Piper brothers who created it. After the tour, an optional lunch (cost of lunch is separate) at the nearby Survey Cafe is suggested. 
Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 mile and tour duration of 1.5 to 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.
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BONITA LOVERS WALK: February 13, 2022
Sunday, 11am - 1pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

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Visit the historic 1915 McSwain House, learn about our town’s history. Stop at one of our best murals and hear stories of early Bonita Springs. Then have a guided tour of Shangri-La Springs (including its organic garden area), one of our first developments and site of the springs that gave Bonita Springs its name. Learn about the owners and intriguing uses of this resort over time. Stay afterward for an optional garden-to-table lunch at the Shangri-La (reserve in advance with Shangri-La Springs Resort), or to relax and enjoy the beauty of this historic oasis.
This is also a day of the acclaimed National Arts Festival held downtown, so you may stay to enjoy enjoy and shop!
Start/End at McSwain House. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 1.5 to 2 hours. Meet at 11:00 AM at the McSwain House, 27451 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. A parking map will be sent.
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DOWNTOWN LANDMARKS: February 19 & May 14, 2022
Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

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Walk through historic downtown with your local guides and listen to the stories of early Bonita Springs. See and learn about the people and places that once were at the center of Bonita Springs commerce and social life along the Tamiami Trail and the Imperial River. Features the Liles Hotel History Center, Artist Cottages, Imperial River, Riverside Park, the Banyan Tree, Savannah's, Engels Bike Shop, Bensons Groceries, the Reality Building, Shear Unity Spa, First Baptist Church, the new downtown clock and the Art & Public Places murals, the Historical Society's 1915 McSwain Home, and more. Learn about the Tin Canners, the Home of the Tiger Snook, and lost buildings like Doc Baird's Camp, Eagle Hotel, Bonita Court, the Pavilion and Community Center, the Wayside Inn, Post Office, Lawhon's Grocery, etc.
Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 1 miles and tour duration of 1.5 to 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.
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CRUISIN’ DOWN THE RIVER: March 26 & May 28, 2022
Saturday, 10am to 12pm, Cost $20 in advance, $30 the day of.

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The Imperial River and its tributaries were the main means of travel and commerce in Bonita Springs until the first railroads and the Tamiami Trail (now Old US 41) in the 1920s. The river was a vital to fishing and recreation, attracting winter visitors and new residents. Walk along the river to Depot Park and over the river to Island Park. Learn about the community’s main dock and Rosemary Creek. See and learn about the construction of historic homes built in the 1930's Riverside subdivision. Learn about the river's ecosystem, its importance to the past and present, including our current water issues (water quality, flooding, etc.) Highlights include: Learning about pioneer life along the Imperial River and Rosemary Creek, along with Riverside Park, Liles Hotel Historic Plaza, Depot Park, the dock, Island Park.
Start/End at Liles Hotel History Center in Riverside Park. Total walk distance is about 2 miles and tour duration of 1.5 to 2 hours. Meet at 10am at the Liles Hotel, 27300 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.
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GHOST WALK
Listen to mysterious local tales, meet a historic ghost, and learn about fascinating characters of our past, from Calusa chiefs and Spanish explorers to the Piper brothers of the Everglades Wonder Gardens. (Available for private groups)
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MONUMENTS, ARTS & CULTURE
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Historic Downtown Bonita Springs is home to over 2 dozen murals, sculptures, and memorials. Featured are the Arts in Public Places pieces, the 911 Memorial, and the Artist Village at the Liles Hotel Historic Plaza in Riverside Park. (Available for private groups)

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BOOKING: Note that the cost per person is $10 less if reserved and prepaid with credit card via Paypal (within 24 hours advance of Walk date), as opposed to paying the day of Walk. The Paypal pricing reflects this discount.
First needed is to select desired Walk and date from drop down menu below, (by clicking on the first date and menu will appear).
Once correct date is selected, click the "Add to Cart" button which will take you to secure Paypal webpage.
Then verify walk date and select the number of participants (Quantity) on Paypal link page. You may select to pay with a credit card and do not need a Paypal account.

Select History Walk Dates


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CUSTOM AND GROUP TOURS

We’ll bring history to your group, friends, or business associates with creative custom events:

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> Tour the Liles Hotel History Center and other historic sites with optional catered picnic or snacks
> Socials & Teas at the Society’s 1915 McSwain House
> Downtown bicycle tours
> Imperial River paddle history tour
> Trolley tours
> Private social and business meetings
> History presentations at your location or ours

Call us at 239-992-6997 or email info@BonitaSpringsHistoricalSociety.org and we’ll make it happen!
For History Walk reservations, call 239-992-6997, or email  info@bonitaspringshistoricalsociety.org
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> Click Here to view other upcoming events.

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